Moving To Canada? 6 Essential Services You Can Do On Day One
Moving to Canada or any new country can be very confusing, stressful and at times even frustrating.
We made the big move to Vancouver only a week ago and yet again learned a great deal of all services and places that we had to visit to set ourselves here and begin accommodation and job hunting.
Once you arrive at the airport for the first time and go through the border security, you are issued with Work Permit.
This document is one and most important one (besides your passport of course) that will allow you to set yourself here and open up a bank account, get SIN code and so on.
FYI we created a brand new group on Facebook called Moving To Vancouver(click here to join), lots of people have joined and look forward to seeing you on the group.
Update: We have just finished our guide on moving to Vancouver and cover 50 things you need to know before moving to Vancouver.
Here is a list of things that you need to know about and do when you move to Canada on day one:
Step 1 Moving To Canada:
Find suitable accommodation
If you have friends or family members here who you can stay with, will most definitely make your move much easier and smoother.
If you are in the same situation as us where you have to count on yourself, is best to have something arranged before your arrival.
We’ve spent a significant amount of time trying to find accommodation in Canada and went through all sorts of websites and options.
Finding a suitable place isn’t always easy and depending on a budget, it might be stressful to get the right place. To start with we went with Airbnb and found a one-bedroom downtown apartment for CAD$2000 a month (and booked it for six weeks).
We do understand that this can be not your cup of tea, but it’s wise to shop around and ask for deals or discounts on longer term rental. If you are planning on renting through Airbnb, make sure to ask for month+ accommodation as you will get a better price for it.
Couchsurfing is also very popular here, and it’s a great way to meet the locals and find out about everything you need to know when arriving at the Country.
Step 2 when moving to Canada:
Get a SIM card for your phone
The least fun part of finding yourself in a new place is not knowing where to go or how to get back home.
Getting a SIM card is essential, and you should organise it as soon as your jet lag wears off.
There are several providers that you can go with, but it’s important to remember that not every service is compatible with your phone, and not every provider has good coverage across the country.
Here in Vancouver, we checked three different services:
Bell(expensive) where you can go prepaid, basic plan or share plan.
The important thing to note for all providers is that you pay less if you come with your phone instead of getting new one in the store and that all phones are locked (unless you buy one in Apple or Samsung store).
Bell does have excellent phone coverage, and if you are planning on moving a lot, it’s a great way of keeping same phone number instead of switching every time you move (different cities have different codes). They do different plans, but basic package starts with $45 but with very little data.
With Fido for $45 you get one gig of data (usually 500 megs but when we were there they had a special deal on) 500 minutes and unlimited messages and international text messages.
Wind Mobile does the most of the data plans and for $40 you also get unlimited Canada calls and Worldwide texts as well as 3-5 gig data.
With all providers, you get monthly billing and can cancel your plan anytime. Think of them as rolling contracts.
Our advice is to check and compare few out before deciding which mobile company to go with.
Step 3 Moving To Canada:
Get a bank account
There are sooo many banks in the CBD that you can pick and choose from. The ones that we were recommended are TD Bank, Tangerine Bank, and Scotia Bank.
We went with TD as they have no bank charges for the first six months and the bank account is very simple to set up. All you need is your passport and work permit and a few minutes later you are issued with account and debit bank card to use immediately.
You typically have to book an appointment to chat with one of their consultants, so if you are lucky, enough you can get the appointment on the same day.
The bank cards do not have your name and if you do require one you need a permanent address where the card can be issued to you (takes about two weeks).
To set up an account in Tangerine Bank you must have either Canadian ID or another bank account in the country to issue yourself with a cheque to prove your identity. This bank won’t charge you for a year similar to Scotia Bank.
Again the best option is to go to few of them check out their offers and special deals they might have at the time.
You can find out more about the best way to money transfer reading the International Money Transfer Guide.
Step 4 Moving To Canada:
Get a SIN number
SIN or Social Insurance Number– a nine-digit number that you need to work in Canada or to have access to government programs and benefits.
To apply for it, you need your passport along with work permit and is valid for the length of your permit (you can, however, extend it if your circumstances change).
To obtain it go to Service Canada Office.
You can see where the nearest one is here. It only takes about 30 minutes to get, depends on how many people are waiting before you.
Step 5 Moving To Canada:
Apply for BCID(or ID card)
BC ID card (applies to British Columbia and can be different for other states), issued to you via post, takes about two weeks for to be delivered.
To get it you need to go to ICBC Centre with passport, work permit, SIN Number and permanent address. The fee currently is $35 for BC ID.
This card is very useful as many places do not accept Id’s from foreign countries.
A lot of bars and clubs require one even two forms of ID and carrying your passport on a night out is just asking for trouble 🙂
To find out more about BCID go to ICBC or click here.
Step 6 Moving To Canada:
Begin job hunting
It didn’t take us long to find a job here in Vancouver, in fact, it took one email, a phone call and two stage interview to get a dream job.
Our best advice is to ask around, sign up for as many Canada groups as possible and email or call as soon as something suitable comes up.
We have just finished our article on how to send money to Canada and we know it will save you a tonne of money in bank charges.
Also, don’t forget about recruitment agencies within your area and make sure to have your LinkedIn profile updated.
We wish you the best of luck with moving to Canada.
Be sure to read our guide on 50 things you need to know before moving to Vancouver.
We will have a lot more articles and info coming soon related to moving to Canada.